Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne participated in a question and answer session at the FONOM Conference yesterday at Nipissing University, and told delegates in attendance she remains committed to economic development in Northern Ontario. Wynne said she’s open to talking with the mayors of Northern Ontario’s five largest municipalities, and the heads of FONOM and the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association to talk about how to get the process going. Throughout the Q&A, Wynne touched on a number of subjects including healthcare, rural school closures, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines Budget and the Ring of Fire mining project.
Wynne wanted to make it clear that not only does she support Northern Ontario, but the Liberal party does as well. She referenced the fact she has strong Northern Ministers, like Glenn Thibeault and Michael Gravelle who’s currently off dealing with mental illness, and that she considers their opinions during cabinet discussions. Both PC leader Patrick Brown, and NDP leader Andrea Horwath took time during their speeches to the FONOM delegates to say that the Liberals have ignored the North while they’ve been in power.
Wynne was asked about Brown and the PCs saying that $70-million has been cut from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. She says that isn’t happening, and in fact the Liberals are putting $30-million more into the MNDM budget. Wynne also says her government is still committed to the Ring of Fire. She says the $1 billion in funding for infrastructure for the Ring of Fire is still in place, and added the province is still working with the surrounding communities to get development going. Wynne finished the discussion about the Ring of Fire by saying there’s no one in the province who wants shovels in the ground at the Ring of Fire than her.